Capturing the value in printed pharmaceuticals – A study of inkjet droplets released from a polymer matrix

Qingxin Zhang, Niamh Willis-Fox, Ronan Daly

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The future of personalised combination dosages will rely on the programming and delivery of multiple, separate APIs, their carrier fluids and excipients to a stable matrix, where each will remain separate until it is needed to be released. A recent technique has demonstrated how to print, capture and release materials from a polymer matrix using inkjet printing, a low cost and customisable technique. Droplets of a formulation are delivered to a fluid polymer matrix, where they are imbibed and remain pinned just under the upper surface, held in place by a balance of interfacial energies. Once the surrounding matrix cures and solidifies, the coating or matrix has trapped the formulation, but each drop has a small opening or pore to the outside that will allow delivery through diffusion. However, while the trapping mechanism has been explored in detail, to-date the release involved in this delivery has never been studied or quantified to the same level. Here we show a first study to quantify the release of a model system from a polymer matrix. An aqueous fluorescein solution is delivered and trapped, with release demonstrated to an agarose gel and aqueous environments. The work reveals that the balance of interfacial tensions prevents a reliable release until low concentrations of surfactant are included. This provides a route forward to further explore stabilising combinations of drugs within one material using a digitally controlled and affordable technique.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120436
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug delivery
  • Inkjet printing
  • Personalized medicine
  • Pharmaceutical printing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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